Mississippi Capital Eyed for Civil Rights Museum

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Before the Freedom Riders came to Jackson, nine black students from Tougaloo College entered the city's segregated main library branch and began reading.

After refusing orders by the police chief to leave, the so-called Tougaloo Nine were arrested, charged and convicted of breaching the peace.

Their actions in March 1961 were among the first high-profile efforts to break down a stubborn, long-standing system of segregation in Mississippi.

After that, the movement for racial equality gained momentum in other Mississippi communities and the Freedom Riders' arrival in Jackson put the nation's spotlight on the city.

Because of Jackson's prominence, several leading officials here think it's appropriate that a Mississippi civil rights museum be built in the capital city.

A legislative study group on Tuesday released a list of recommendations, saying the museum should be built somewhere in Jackson and should be part of a ``trail'' to highlight historically significant civil rights sites around the state.

The group said the museum should be national in scope, focusing on how the Mississippi movement - primarily in the 1950s and '60s - helped influence the civil rights struggle in other states.

The proposed facility would add to the list of civil rights museum and memorials across the nation, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, the Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum in Georgia, and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.

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